The marketplace, once defined by businesses who created profit for shareholders, is now a dynamic kaleidoscope of unexpected partnerships vying for social attention and hoping to attract interest, engagement and revenue.
One thing is clear: any organization which is not focused on sustainability, values-driven mission or conscious workplace is not likely to invite the support of the communities which now define their success. Aaron Hurst, author of 'The Purpose Economy,' writes that the Information Age has ended. Why? The Millennials, now the largest consumer group in history, are a compelling influence, shaping the way we work in a multitude of ways. They are user-review driven. They demand social impact experiences at work. They expect their employers to act in sustainable, values-driven ways that support the planet's positive future.
This is a whole different breed of worker. Success depends not only on good strategy and product/service innovation, but also on cultivating engagement, curating relationships and events to a virtual audience and innovating design elements that foster client intimacy and loyalty.
Work, relationships, community and commerce are being redefined by those who can stretch between traditional business basics and this neuro-networked marketplace. One of leading organizations in this category, the YWCA of Chicago has developed mindset, strategic vision and engagement approaches that defy its tax status as a non-profit.
"Everyone and everything has value in the new economy," says CEO Dorri McWhorter, former Partner at Crowe Horwath. Dorri's believes that we are all value creators and that the YWCA's role is to "remain on the forefront of advancing society through a stronger marketplace." An uncommon way of thinking for most leaders, much less one that is leading a 140 year old organization! Dorri and her team operationalize their strategy through partnerships that include "social impact realization," of which Uber is an example.
When Dorri studied Uber's business model and their stated objective to get 1 million women in cars by 2020, she immediately recognized the complementarity with YWCA objective of increasing economic opportunity for YWCA clients as well as the potential for lasting social impact. Dorri introduced Uber to the 200,000 women consumer group that comprises the YWCA clientele, and within several months, 15,000 Chicago women were Uber drivers whom received free rides to access employment opportunities.
Philanthropy, which has long been the hallmark of non-profit sustainability, is redefined by Dorri's team as "strategic investment in the YWCA vision." An example of this is TechGYRLS, where girls are taught programming at 1871, the famous Chicago entrepreneurial incubator. With an investment in TechGYRLS, a more digitally intelligent workforce is available for the hungry techno-based economy.
The Y Model, which includes many other aspects for creating value and a stronger marketplace, is powerful for all work enterprise, regardless of tax status. This Thursday, Dorri elucidates her New Model of Social Enterprise at the Conscious Business Network at 1871. She is an enthralling speaker, a brilliant teacher and an engaging collaborator -- she embodies her vision.
The YWCA of Chicago is one example of this mindset change. Other models are evolving to redefine success as understanding value in a new way, respectfully listening for and catalyzing greater value in other organizations' and collaborating to creatively share new value -- resulting in benefits for each partner, their communities and the planet.